“I’ll do that in another 5 minutes”
Isn’t that a familiar phrase as procrastination took control over you? The 5 minutes soon become 50, and eventually, you tell yourself that you’ll put it off to the next day. At a certain point in our life, we’re all guilty of laziness and procrastination.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a student or an aspiring entrepreneur. Comfort is a temptation that doesn’t discriminate. As you indulge in another 5 minutes of comfort, here’s what will happen.
The problem with being procrastinating is that we do not understand or realize the full consequences of our action until it’s too late. Not only do important tasks are left incomplete, you’ll soon be overwhelmed by newer responsibilities that beg your attention.
I believe that neither you nor I am free from delaying our work. This is why I’m hoping this guide to overcoming laziness and procrastination that I personally practiced can benefit you as well.
When it comes to procrastination, there are worse consequences than bad grades or missed deadlines. Stress will naturally build up as you attempt to keep things under control and struggle to produce quality results amidst the increased pressure.
Various negative emotions will hit you hard as you find your attempts to rectify the situations often fall short. You’ll start blaming yourself and having regrets that you’ve wasted precious time. This usually ends up in vows and promises that you’ll buck up and practice strict self-discipline.
As valiant as your self-promises, you’ll often find yourself in the same situation again soon. The cycle of laziness and procrastination tend to repeat itself and when left unchecked, can lead to serious mental disorder.
Anxiety often follows chronic procrastination as you are overwhelmed by the tasks that you need to complete. At this state, anxiety will rob you of the capability needed to accomplish your task efficiently. You’ll soon be trapped between this chain of anxiety and procrastination.
You can write endless to-do lists each day and yet you wouldn’t complete any of them. Before you address procrastination on the physical level, you need to understand why it happens to you. You need to uncover the reason why you keep delaying tasks even when you realize the consequences that you need to pay.
Pamela Wiegartz, an associate professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago brilliantly summarize the causes of procrastination for these reasons
Regardless of the reasons you procrastinate, the chain of thoughts and actions has formed a habit in your subconscious mind and can be awfully difficult to break. Overcoming laziness and procrastination can be tricky because it requires consistency.
You can read all the tips on how to stop being lazy but you need to take real action by the end of this article if you’re serious about getting things done. Here are what you can do to stop procrastination.
When you try to juggle house chores, career and caring for your kids, you can be easily overwhelmed. You’ll end up feeling hopeless and not knowing where to start. As a result, you end up avoiding the tasks unless you absolutely have to.
While sorting task by priorities does help, sometimes it’s hard to figure out which deserves your greater attention. Instead of cracking your head in deciding which is the most important task, start with the most simple one.
James Clear gave a very good guide to doing this with the 2-minutes rule. By starting and finishing on a simple task that only took a couple of minutes, you’ll gain a sense of accomplishment. You simply feel good enough to take on other tasks.
This can be as simple as cleaning up your desk or folding a couple of your clothes. What’s important is that you allow yourself to feel the satisfaction and let that drive you to your next task. In no time, you’ll be in full force attacking the most complicated task.
How many tabs on your browser do you keep open when you’re working on an assignment? Do you keep checking emails, Whatsapp, and social media every time your smartphone buzzed? A couple minutes of small distractions can break any momentums you’ve started.
If you’re serious about stopping procrastination, you need to get rid of all possible distractions, especially when you’re working on a task. Stop having multiple tabs on emails or news opened on your browser.
You can’t help but having 5 or more social media apps installed on your mobile. You can put your smartphone on vibrate or silent when you’re trying to focus. If you couldn’t control your urge to check your notifications every couple of minutes, do not have it by your side when you’re working.
When you’re not wasting your time on Twitter or Facebook, you’ll find that your focus and productivity increase and that will keep you going.
Some people are obsessed with having to-do lists. They’ll have 10-20 items that are listed as top-priority on that list and would insist on completing all the tasks before they call it a day. But if you’re already a victim of procrastination, this technique may actually backfire.
When your mind is already accustomed to being lazy, having a lengthy list of tasks can actually increase your stress and anxiety. As I tried to beat my own anxiety, my favorite mentor Harv Eker strongly insisted that a list of 3 task is more than enough to be productive. The res
t is pure distractions.
As I switched from a long list to have 3 to-do items each day, I found that I’m actually less stressed and pressured as I worked on the tasks. The beauty of this method is that you’ll often finish the tasks in much time than you estimated.
If you have time to spare, you can work on less complicated tasks or take a quick break before you continue. This is a far better way of getting things done than filling up your day with tens of items.
This method also trains you to value and use time more wisely. Most of the time, our perception of important tasks are far off than their true priorities. (I’m still using this technique until today. Writing this blog post is my final task of the day).
I’m not saying that being a perfectionist is bad. I would always want my dentist to be perfect. What I’m saying is that most of the task that we’re doing does not require perfection. Obsessing about perfection can put a stop to all your progress.
I was once a perfectionist who couldn’t the accept the slightest mistake in my design. While it’s a good trait to have, bringing perfectionism to your daily life affects your interaction with friends and family.
It’s ok if your resume does not perfect, just send it out to your potential employers. The same goes for your college projects or delaying that dreaded call to pitch your project. The quest for perfection can cause hesitation and eventually total abandonment.
Speed sometimes is more important than being perfect. Start telling yourself that.
Beating procrastination and laziness is about doing things you promised to do even when you don’t feel like doing it. Motivation is hard to come by when you’re in laziness mode. Unfortunately, it is extremely important to push through your first task in order to get motivated.
This is where it is important to develop strong willpower. Without a strong mental force pushing you through, it’s hard to break out from the grip of laziness. It will be a struggle even on the easiest chore when your willpower is non-existence.
This article on PsychologyToday gives awesome tips on building your will-power. You have to balance working diligently on your tasks and giving yourself ample break time to ensure your willpower is constantly recharged.
At times, you’ll need help to build your willpower when it’s depleted. Hypnosis is a great method to help you focus and boost your mental energy. Use this hypnosis from my trusted hypnotherapist to help you get rid of laziness and work towards your goal.
If you often procrastinate, you’re a great liar. At least, your mind is. Listen to the voice that keeps telling you that you’re just not good enough or you need more time to prepare. The same voice also tells you that watching Hells Kitchen will make you a great chef like Gordon Ramsay.
These are lies that you keep feeding yourself so that you remain comfortable doing nothing. You need to stop believing your thoughts now. There are two ways to do that. The first is practicing and developing mindfulness.
With mindfulness, you’re able to stop believing and reacting to these thoughts. You’ll know that it isn’t true that you’re not capable or too tired to do any work. Mindfulness helps you to gain clarity instead of being dragged down by procrastination.
(Check out these 10 mindfulness apps to start developing your self-awareness.)
The second method is to challenge and break your thought pattern right now. I learn this method from Harv Eker’s training and best-selling book. It’s about reciting a mantra when you wake up, and before your meals. The mantra is nothing magical, but it breaks your routine thought patterns.
The other extreme end of procrastination is burning out. When you’re not giving yourself a break, you’ll burn out eventually. That causes your energy to be depleted and brings you back to square one.
It’s important that you allow yourself to regenerate physically and mentally. Block off one of your weekends and pamper yourself with spa. Treat yourself to a movie or indulge yourself in the finest restaurants. This is the one day that you need not feel guilty for not doing any works.
You’ll be amazed how rewarding this will be. You’ll be fully charged and raring to go the next day as you face new tasks and challenges. The only thing to keep in mind is the to have the self-discipline to get back on track the next day and not trapped in the comfort zone.
If you’re still reading this, you’ve spent at least 10 minutes of your day, reading on procrastination busting tips that you’ve probably read elsewhere. To be frank, I’m not sure it will make any difference to you because the effectiveness of these tips depends on what you intend to do after this.
You can return back to your comfort zone and spend your entire day browsing aimlessly on the internet, watching Youtube or retweeting senselessly on Twitter.
Or you can start breaking this destructive cycle of procrastination by doing the simplest task right now. All you need to do is set your intention, and take action.
It’s your call.
I hope this article helps you in dealing with laziness and procrastination. If you find it helpful, share it with your friends. Also, feel free to share your own methods of getting things done in the comment below.
I am an engineer-turned-writer who once struggle with social anxiety. After overcoming problems inflicted by low self-esteem and the fear of interaction, I realize the need for taking a holistic approach in developing our mind. I'm sharing my experience, remedies, and techniques that interest me in my quest to be a better self.
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